Big geospatial and temporal data has become infused into many aspects of our daily lives. Analysis of such data is used, for example, to better understand and manage natural and built environments, investigate the spread of disease, locate services, guide route selection or mine the big data of social media to understand human behavior, mobility and communication patterns. In response, worldwide expenditures on geospatial technologies are large and rapidly increasing.

Geoinformatics has emerged as a field of study that is focused on basic questions about the acquisition, storage, management, analysis and visualization of geographic information within Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Geoinformatics researchers develop new computational, visual analytical, and statistical methods to process, analyze and understand big geospatial and temporal data. Through the development of new theories and methodological tools, geoinformatics helps to support basis scientific enquiry  as well as help address complex social and environmental challenges (e.g., climate change, public health, migration, transportation safety, and security). Geoinformatics research contributes to the development of various location-aware technologies such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS), the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile sensors, and remote sensing. Applied geoinformatics, in the form of geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing software, is used to support research in an increasingly wide range of disciplines that include the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, and engineering. The growing importance of geoinformatics beyond academia is evidenced not only by the proliferation of location-based services offered as phone and tablet apps and used by consumers everywhere, but also by the prominent role it plays in the daily activities of government agencies and private enterprises throughout the world.

As the utility of digital geographic information has become more generally recognized, the demand for scientists and practitioners who are professionally trained in related concepts, methods, and technologies has grown rapidly. In recognition of current and projected long-term demand for professionals trained in geospatial technologies, and coinciding with the initiation of the University of Iowa Informatics Initiative (UI3), we offer the Geoinformatics subprogram within the existing academic foundation provided by the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Informatics at the University of Iowa.

The Geoinformatics subprogram offers three educational programs:

  • Ph.D.
  • Master's
  • Graduate Certificate

At the University of Iowa, the study of Geoinformatics is facilitated within a number of traditional areas of graduate and undergraduate study. There is a growing list of departments and degree programs that currently offer, or are making plans to offer, coherent adjunct curricula to students pursuing Geoinformatics within existing degree programs.